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AISD board votes to increase pay for district employees

During a special meeting on Wednesday, the Amarillo ISD school board voted 5-0 to increase the pay of district staff. Professional employees will receive a 2 percent increase, while auxiliary staff can expect a 2.5 percent raise in their pay.

“In several recent work sessions regarding the 2018-19 district budget, trustees have discussed employee compensation plans for next year. Enclosed is information related to proposed salary recommendations and teacher hiring schedules for 2018-19.

"The board also received, prior to the meeting, proposed supplemental stipend and substitute pay schedules for next year, as well as budget projection models that include a 2.5 percent raise.

"The administration is recommending a general pay increase of 2.5 percent of the midpoint of each employee’s respective pay grade for all employees and is recommending no changes in the supplemental stipend pay raise,"  AISD Superintendent Dana West said before the meeting.

Board member John Betancourt introduced the split level pay raises that would later be approved by the school board.

“There is a huge difference from a professional salary versus an hourly salary. We’re talking a matter of thousands of dollars more. I want to make certain our staff is making a living wage.

"From time to time, I have seen our staff working two and three jobs. Any time we have a chance to do better, we need to do better.

"I would be interested in seeing what a 2 percent increase would look like for professionals and a 2.5 percent for our auxiliary workers," Betancourt said.

Aaron Phillips, president of the Amarillo Education Association, said the 2 percent raise for professional staff was "OK", but hourly employees needed a bigger pay increase just to make ends meet.

“2.5 percent is not enough for our hourly employees. Many of them are making $1,000 per month and it’s really hard for them to make ends meet.

"It’s going to be hard for our paraprofessional and auxiliary staff to do the job they need to do, make ends meet and be dedicated to serving our children, when they know the pay raise does not keep up with inflation," Phillips said.

AISD school board president Jim Austin explained why he could not support an across the board 2.5 percent pay increase for all district employees.

“There are three components we have to be careful about in our budget. One is our employees, two is operating expenses and three are the capital requirements.

"And then there is a fourth wild card, with insurance changes, technical improvement changes and items that impact the budget with more expenses," Austin said.

The pay raises will go into effect at the start of the 2018-19 fiscal year.

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